Let’s be honest, a few years ago, you couldn’t say that it was possible to get two (or more) African artistes from different parts of the continent live, and on-stage together. I mean how would you get someone like Neyma, from Mozambique to sing and perform in a studio with the Swahili Shakespeare, Rabbit?
It seemed almost impossible. Plus, I’m not sure anyone had ever thought of trying it out. But Coke Studio found a way to do it. They talked to all these African artists, smiled and gave them a cold glass of Coca-Cola and said, “Hey, we’re doing this thing where you’ll get to work with other artists, and we were wondering…uhm…would you want to join in?”
“Awesome!” they said, “why not?”
And so a new kind of music show emerged: one that wasn’t about competing with other artists, but rather, working together to create something fresh and original. African pop music sensations from Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania have all left their mark on the studio. Where else would you have seen Chidinma’s smooth voiced and upbeat track, ‘Kedike’ transform from this
I really loved how the Coke Studio Africa rendition feels like a beautiful collision between jazz and hip-hop. Chidinma’s voice is still as smooth as always, but when Joh Makini starts to rap, you feel like a door opens that you never even knew existed. It’s brilliant.
But it’s not only songs that are getting the Coke Studio Africa treatment, but the artists as well. Think about it for a second: first, we have African artists who may never have worked with each other before, spending a week at the studio to rework a song into something new. Second, we have a show that has a much wider reach among audiences without the usual restrictions of national boundaries. Then, we the have fans – the people who want to see who their favorite artist is working with at the studio. Put all of that together and you get more artists being discovered by newer audiences. Diamond, the bongo artist from Tanzania, now has a huge fan base in Nigeria, all thanks to Coke Studio Africa.
After a performance like that, it’s only natural to want more!
Image courtesy: spyce.co.ke